A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:24-34)
With the crowd almost crushing him, Jesus made his way through the enthusiastic mob on his way to heal a young girl. There were many people touching him constantly, and yet…there was one touch in the midst of it all that stopped the Lord in His tracks. After twelve years of bleeding, one woman, who had suffered and grown worse at the hands of many physicians, simply reached out to touch his cloak – believing in her heart that she would be healed.
Through God’s grace-filled love and mercy, this woman, who didn’t want to be noticed or identified, had a simple thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” And God, through the power of the Holy Spirit alive and at work in His Son, chose to bless her act of faith with complete healing. Did she know that it was God’s will to use her to bring glory to Himself? Perhaps not; however, her humble act of faith provides a good model for us to pray bold, faith-filled prayers, believing that God has the power to transform our lives.
There are several compelling things about prayer in this passage.
Declaration of faith: First, the woman had a thought that Jesus could heal her, perhaps because she had heard about how He had healed others. I believe the thought itself came from the Holy Spirit actively at work. She could have dismissed the idea…but she didn’t. It gave her hope, and she had no other recourse than to trust and believe that what had been impossible for twelve years was now possible. In her own spirit she declared what she fully believed to be true and prayed the prayer of her heart as an affirmation of that faith: “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Action of faith: Second, she felt she must act upon the silent prayer within her. Summoning the courage to brave the crowds, she acted upon the faith of the testimony of her heart.
Receiving the answer to her prayer of faith: Immediately, the woman received her healing and felt it in her body.
Giving testimony of her faith: Even though it was not her intent to shout her healing to the world, when Jesus called her out, she came forward to declare what had happened to her in response to the cry of her own spirit and the believing act of faith.
Surely this timid woman had asked God over and over again to make her well. Yet, with this one simple act, her prayer was answered. The immediacy of her healing most likely shocked and overwhelmed her…the face to face encounter with Jesus was completely unexpected…and the affirmation that it was her act of faith that had brought her healing surely brought her great joy!
Jonathan Graf has stated, “Declaring prayer simply means that once we know God’s heart on an issue, we boldly pray that it will be so, and then walk in faith that it is already so – even if the answer is not yet visible.”
****Take a practical step toward faith-filled prayer by checking out this tool developed by Dick LaFountain (www.prayertoday.org):
Kim’s passion is to see God’s people recognize that prayer is a creative, continual moment by moment lifestyle with God as we align our hearts with His plans and purposes for His glory and for the sake of His kingdom. Her ministry involves writing, teaching and consulting. She also compiles and edits HPM’s free daily devotional, Connection! and blogs regularly on the HPM website). Kim is a member of America's National Prayer Committee, VP of Gospel Revivals, Inc. and on the Advisory Board for America Prays.
Kim has a BA in Psychology and a Masters degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership.